Extremes, plasticity, and invariance in vertebrate life history traits: insights from coral reef fishes

Depczynski, Martial, and Bellwood, David R. (2006) Extremes, plasticity, and invariance in vertebrate life history traits: insights from coral reef fishes. Ecology, 87 (12). pp. 3119-3127.

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Life history theory predicts a range of directional generic responses in life history traits with increasing organism size. Among these are the relationships between size and longevity, mortality, growth rate, timing of maturity, and lifetime reproductive output. Spanning three orders of magnitude in size, coral reef fishes provide an ecologically diverse and species-rich vertebrate assemblage in which to test these generic responses. Here we examined these relationships by quantifying the life cycles of three miniature species of coral reef fish from the genus Eviota (Gobiidae) and compared their life history characteristics with other reef fish species. We found that all three species of Eviota have life spans of <100 days, suffer high daily mortality rates of 7–8%, exhibit rapid linear growth, and matured at an earlier than expected size. Although lifetime reproductive output was low, consistent with their small body sizes, short generation times of 47–74 days help overcome low individual fecundity and appear to be a critical feature in maintaining Eviota populations. Comparisons with other coral reef fish species showed that Eviota species live on the evolutionary margins of life history possibilities for vertebrate animals. This addition of demographic information on these smallest size classes of coral reef fishes greatly extends our knowledge to encompass the full size spectrum and highlights the potential for coral reef fishes to contribute to vertebrate life history studies.

Item ID: 3868
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-9170
Keywords: agent drug screening; biomass; body size; age; coral reefs; Gobiidae; growth; lifetime fecundity; mortality; pelagic larval duration; reproduction; trade-offs; turnover
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Reproduced with permission from Ecological Society of America (ESA).

Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2009 05:54
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960508 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Mining Environments @ 100%
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